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Friday Night College Hoops: Michigan State vs. North Carolina

(Wagerweb) Easily the best matchup on the first weekend of college basketball comes not from any gym but from the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego Harbor on Friday when top-ranked North Carolina, the preseason national title favorite on, faces perennial power Michigan State in the first Carrier Classic. Of course the event is being staged in conjunction with Veterans’ Day. President Obama is expected to attend and the game is essentially closed to the public, with the large majority of tickets going to military personnel. And both teams will wear camouflage uniforms.

The last time North Carolina opened the season as the AP preseason No. 1 was then the Heels had all five starters back heading into the 2008-09 season. And those Heels, behind Tyler Hansbrough, rolled to the national title – beating Michigan State in the championship game. This year’s UNC team also welcomes all five starters back from last year’s ACC regular-season champions and Elite Eight club. Harrison Barnes is the preseason national player of the year, and he, John Henson and Tyler Zeller all passed up likely being chosen in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft to return to Chapel Hill.

Michigan State opened last season as No. 2 in the nation but injuries and a few suspensions/defections led to one of Tom Izzo’s most trying teams as Sparty finished only .500 in Big Ten play and barely snuck in the NCAA Tournament, losing its opening game. Only two starters are back for Izzo: guard Keith Appling and forward Draymond Green.

North Carolina is 89-12 all-time in season-opening games. UNC has won 76 of its last 81 season openers, including six in a row. Overall UNC is 10-3 vs. MSU and has won the past five meetings. In addition to winning all five games against Michigan State in the Roy Williams era, the Tar Heels have outscored the Spartans in seven of the ten halves in that span. In the most recent meeting on Dec. 1, 2009, the Tar Heels beat the Spartans 89-82 in The ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Chapel Hill.

The ship is named after former U.S. Rep. Carl Vinson, a Georgia Democrat known as the father of the two-ocean Navy because of his success in pushing through bills that greatly expanded and modernized the Navy’s warship fleet during his time in Congress from 1914 to 1965. He was chair of the House Armed Services Committee when Congress authorized the procurement of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carriers starting with the USS Enterprise in the late 1950s.

(Sportsbook Advisor) The spread is currnetly UNC -8.5. Carolina is supposed to be beast this year. Michigan State is good every year but not in the same class as UNC. With that said, a strange playing environment and early season jitters should make for a closer game. Take MSU +8′

Basketball on Aircraft Carrier


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Friday, November 11th, 2011 2011-previews-picks, College Basketball Betting

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